GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD TV8)-Consumers Energy is preparing for damaging winds and severe thunderstorms that are expected to impact the lakeshore, Grand Rapids, and the areas south of I-96 starting Monday afternoon through late Monday night. Some of these strong thunderstorms may include heavy rain and winds up to 65 mph, resulting in power outages, downed wires and other safety hazards. The Consumers Energy Restoration Team has been monitoring this developing storm since it appeared in the forecast and is ready to respond. Crews are being pre-staged in areas where we expect the greatest damage and are preparing trucks and essential materials needed to assist with any restoration efforts.

Visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter for helpful tips.  Here customers also can visit the online outage map, report an outage and sign up to receive power restoration updates.

Some preparation tips for potential severe weather include:

• Charge all electronic devices. It’s advised to have an emergency battery or charging station available for use during an outage.

• Have an emergency kit that includes flashlights and extra batteries, water, canned food and blankets. Be prepared with enough medication, baby supplies and pet food if applicable. A battery-operated radio is also a good idea.

• Unplug sensitive electronics like TVs, computers and printers. Turn power strips off.

 Consumers Energy also urges the public to keep these important storm safety tips in mind:

• Stay at least 25 feet away from downed wires, keep children or pets away, and report the issue by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. Consumers Energy asks the public to keep at least six feet of distance from its crews.

• A portable generator should be placed at least 25 feet away from any doors, windows or fresh air intakes. Never operate a generator inside your home, garage, basement or enclosed area. Proper ventilation is critical.

• Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.

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